Saturday, January 26, 2013

Classic Poetry ~ "The Owl and The Pussycat" by Edward Lear

Edward Lear, 1812-1888

When considering the classics, we often maintain a stoic or serious attitude. Today’s post deviates. Our Poets United family boasts a number of light-hearted poets, and it is in their honor that I offer up Edward Lear.

Lear was an artist, illustrator, author and poet who has been referred to as the father of literary nonsense. The twentieth of twenty-one children, Lear was ill during most of his childhood in Middlesex, England, and cultivated drawing and writing skills during convalescence. He utilized those talents, supporting himself as an illustrator and travel writer while seeing much of the world before ultimately settling in San Remo, Italy. Although he proposed marriage more than once (to the same woman nearly 5 decades his junior), he never wed nor had children. 

I’ve selfishly chosen to share “The Owl and The Pussycat” after fondly reflecting back on commutes to and from work when my eldest child, then only two, recited it to me from her carseat. I hope it provides you with a bit of joy as well.


The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
    In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
    Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
    And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
      What a beautiful Pussy you are,
          You are,
          You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'


Pussy said to the Owl, 'You elegant fowl!
    How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
    But what shall we do for a ring?'
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
    To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
    With a ring at the end of his nose,
          His nose,
          His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.


'Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
    Your ring?' Said the Piggy, 'I will.'
So they took it away, and were married next day
    By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
    Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
    They danced by the light of the moon,
          The moon,
          The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.


  1. Never liked his limericks but love the Owl & Pussycat.

  2. the first poem I ever learned and the first poem Rachel said she liked - how could. you not

  3. I so love The Owl and the Pussycat! My Dad used to read it to me when I was little.

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  5. See! If we know it, it brings back happy memories!

  6. I still have the board book of The Owl and The Pussycat I bought for my first daughter, now 20 years old...Oohhh, this brings back memories..

  7. Oh Kim, I have always so loved this poem. What a delight to read it again!!!!! "They danced by the light of the moon." So sweet.

  8. This was always a favourite of mine. I still quote it.

  9. I always enjoyed this poem too, Kim! It is nice to read a 'classic poem' that is light-hearted once in a while. Delightful fare.

  10. thanks for sharing. i used to read Lear as a child, probably it was such a joy to. :)

  11. Kim, a classic. We should all be blessed with such a sense of nonsense! Lear is a wonderful inspiration when I get too down or when I find my seriously flawed life getting in my way... Thanks so much! Amy


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